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Low Church Attendance

Who is to blame for low church attendance, the church or the attendees? What can churches do to get more people involved?

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 ---Stef on 8/8/06
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Mean and hypocritical attendees is my biggest issue. I really like my pastor and am intent on listening to the sermons. I am friendly with new members,old members and generLly everyone. I simply notice grumpier people in worship services and finally less attendance when parishioners are surrounded by christian grumps.
---Shakespereslady on 3/25/18

These are questions we're asking at our church, which financially has only about a year left. Our congregation is tolerant, friendly, welcoming of strangers, no "fire and brimstone", and very into music. One big problem for us is that young people (and therefore their parents) are very busy with sports, etc. on Sundays (as well as the rest of the week).
---IanC on 5/20/12

Be exciting. be relevant. Follow God's commands. Change from consumer mindset to producer mindset. kingdom vision. church is not a hobby. Don't make Sunday the only thing you do for God during the week.
---Scott1 on 8/30/11

Asking for too much money, too many groups/cliques. The people being skinned for their money in the name of Jesus. Strange preachers and so-called prophets coming into the churches and fleecing the sheep, while the pastors sit by and do nothing. No revivals and refreshing services anymore.No altar calls. What's the use? The internet and other technology has made it easier for persons to sit at home and listen to a message and skip the drama. Skip the woundedness and frustrations.Oh well. Just a few reasons could be many more.
---Robyn on 8/29/11

Church to me was good where I went my Grandmother .... wooden seats.. and we kids had often give up our seats for elderly.. we had tamborines & one older gentleman on the guitar.. Church was small.. we never sold food,everything free! Church too much "glitch" and fancy stuff.. we need go back to basics! footstomping praise God and relax and breathe n His presence!Bask 'n HIS presence!
---ELENA on 8/23/11

If the Word of God is being declared-God brings the increase.

He provides all the needs-not man.
---char on 12/16/10

The word of God is clear that there shall be a great falling away before the Lord returns.
It also says that because iniquity shall abound the love of many shall wax cold.
That can be seen as the love between people and the Lord has waxed cold and is bringing a great falling away.
The churches that have the high paid preachers and multitudes are the ones that preach against the rightly divided word of truth.
Tell people what they want to hear and they will come.
Preach the word and the reproach will keep them away.
---Frank on 11/18/10

Since the pill, naturally society is moving away from marriage. Therefore, more and more couples are just "living in sin." If they attend church, even if they have a cool pastor, someone will make a snide remark that will discourage them from coming back. I believe the vast growth of atheism is really based on the same reason. Technically, fornication just meant prostitution in the original Greek, therefore, this basis word condemning all sexually-active singles is a corruption that needs to be known, but I'm the only knowledgeable Christian working on this truth, therefore, the only Christian trying to save Christianity. See: for details.
---The_Goldenrule_Name on 11/17/10

While muslims were promised a reward by God Almighty every time they go to the mosque.

There are no such promise for churchgoer. All they NEED to go to the church once a week. But that also is so difficult to most of you!!!

The cityscapes of Europe are increasingly dotted with church buildings transformed into secular or explicitly non-Christian uses.
---Sheila on 12/30/07

Let the Holy spirit be in charge. Get off of these man-made programs and entertainment and things may improve. Learn to love and accept others in the church.Even the unsaved, gays etc..continue to preach the gospel and let out lives be our testimony.
---Robyn on 11/11/07

INVITE JESUS! I wouldn't go to a church where He was absent either. Too many people are focused on man's agenda - just as long as they get out by 12:00 noon!!
---Crystal on 11/5/07

The word of God draws people. Someone plants a seed, someone else waters it, but it's God who causes the growth.

Acts 2:41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

Acts 2:47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

John 4:41 And many more believed because of his own word;
---Donna9759 on 4/1/07

Corporations are persons under the law. They have all the rights of an individual. In the documentary "The Corporation" (3 parts). The corporation is analyzed using the world health organization check list. They check off in every category as full blown psychopaths. As far as blaming it on Jesus goes, better think again. Improve your guesswork.
---jhonny on 8/31/06

Maybe Jesus is responsible.
---david on 8/30/06

Tom 2 Thanks for your reply. Your quote: "..have become so corporatized that they run the church like a business,.." E.Q.
I like that word "corporatized", that's a new one. It's not that they operate "like" a business, they are in fact corporate religion. You know the board and the members, the quorum and the profit and loss statements and all that. That's right, corporations with government accounting, status, tax receipts, cost per response, etc.
---jhonny on 8/29/06

johnny, peopel seem to have forgotten what jesus said. its the gospel, and the holy spirit that does the work. not a degree holding pastor.christ also said that the holy spirit would teach us what to say ,and bring to remembrance the things we need communicate to the lost.I agree with earlier post the denominations have become so corporatized that they run the church like a business, instead of a message of salvation to a dying world.
---tom2 on 8/29/06

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Well put Tom 2 Your quote: "to say that one needs apiece of paper to be qualified is ridiculous, and non biblical." There are so many divorced with rank and position, or for that matter not even married. Also unbiblical. But the spin never stops. I was given the argument that the bible meant one wife at a time. Some have never had a job and very little well rounded life experience. So they say, "that's just the kind of guy we want for our church".
---jhonny on 8/29/06

we seem to have lost sight of who it is and what it is that convicts mens hearts.It isn,t a degree. jesus was called master,teacher,he had no degree. peter neither or any of the apostles.and you will have power when the holy spirit comes upon you,not and you will have power once you get your degree from joe blow say that one needs apiece of paper to be qualified is ridiculous, and non biblical.
---tom2 on 8/29/06

Since most religions have become corporations they could use corporate dissonance strategies. A number have retention and recruitment positions on staff. The bible shows how to do it, but that would make the preachers more accountable for their behaviour. 1Ti 5:19 "Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses."
---jhonny on 8/12/06

We need preachers called by God in our pulpits whether or not they have been to college. If we do not agree that God's calling is more important than a piece of paper from a place of learning then we will one day end up with churches like they now have in Russia and China. These have qualified 'puppet' pastors who preach according to the government rules. Visitors return from holidaying in these countries full of enthusiasm about the 'freedom of religion' they saw there.
---emg on 8/12/06

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I agree with ff. NotLaw, who really cares if one can talk in the hebrew or greek language? So your church would rather have someone who has been to a bible college for umteen years rather have a person being called by God? So you won't let a man called by God behind your pulpit unless he had some type of degree?
---Rebecca_D on 8/11/06

Hopefully, our pastors are all "called" to preach. I can't imagine any of them (except the mob psychologist types with "world-wide" ministries and potiental for great wealth) serving otherwise. But good seminary education and a call from the Lord CAN exist together. I worry about those whose pastor "feels the call", but preaches far more skillfully than he divides the Word. That's how cults and false doctrines proliferate.
---Donna2277 on 8/11/06

The word "heritage" is used once in the new testament, 1 Pe 5: 3, "Neither as being lords over God's heritage...". Heritage taken from the Gk. word "kleros" from where we derive the word clergy. We are all God's clergy, "..who walk not after the flesh,.." Rm. 8:1,
---jhonny on 8/11/06

The word "heritage" is used once in the new testament, 1 Pe 5: 3, "Neither as being lords over God's heritage...". Heritage taken from the Gk. word "kleros" from where we derive the word clergy. We are all God's clergy, "..who walk not after the flesh,.." Rm. 8:1,
---jhonny on 8/11/06

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Sometimes you can determine importance by the amount of times a word is used. Heart for example is used 765 times. God is used 3,893 times. Clergy is not in the bible. Sermon is not in the bible. Pastor is not in the New Testament, used once in the bible by Jeremiah as a follower. Licencing, seminary, graduates, college, degree, and others of this genre are not in the bible. What can be discerned by this?
---jhonny on 8/11/06

Many of the answers here would seem to describe the concerns of the Laodicean church. Such things as size, attendants, parking lots, just knowing the Bible alone doesn't cut it, a pastor who do not have minimal credentials of a Master of Divinity from a nationally accredited theological seminary has no business being in the pulpit as a pastor any where.-- are these godly qualifications for churches? Your opinions
---mima on 8/11/06

If all churches had to have a pastor with a recognised qualification, or a licence, my church could not operate. We rely on people called by God to preach every Sunday. 90% of these hold down full time jobs all week and take our services because God has called them as lay-preachers. We are fed the Gospel of Jesus Christ, most attendees love the Lord and each other (as it should be). Sadly, because of denominational (man-made) laws we must have a clerical collar-clad person officiating at communion.
---f.f. on 8/11/06

We know that some seminaries, usually non-Presbyterian local seminaries tend to produce more problem pastors then others. The COMs network well between Presbyteries on a regional basis and when we see trends developing the graduates of those seminaries have a more difficult time in getting approved. When you have a presbytery that coves three states and part of a fourth and certain seminary graduates consuming disproportionate of your meeting time; you get gun-shy of graduates of those institutions.
---notlaw99 on 8/10/06

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In the Presbyterian PCUSA we examine our pastoral candidates after they graduate with a minimum of a MDV. They are examined in Bible, Theology, and Knowledge of Hebrew and Greek. Churches make calls of pastors but all calls are review and approved at the Presbytery level if the Committee on Ministry has any doubts after examining a candidate they will simply disapprove the call. Like wise new pastors are monitored for a number of years and have continuing seminar requirements we practice quality control.
---notlaw99 on 8/10/06

Notlaw; anyone who isn't called by God does not need to be preaching or be a Pastor. A person can go to college all they want and know the bible from kiver to kiver, but if that person isn't called to preach by God, then their message isn't going nowhere. How do you get the idea that a man shouldn't be behind the pulpit if didn't go to college to become a preacher? Is your Pastor called by God to preach or did he just go to college?
---Rebecca_D on 8/10/06

Ryan, you have hit the nail right on. To think someone has to have a degree in theology is ridiculus. NO PREACHER SHOULD BE IN THE PULPIT UNLESS HE IS GOD CALLED. I know plenty of Godly preachers who do not have a degree. They study the Word day after day after day and probably know more than one with a degree.
---shira on 8/10/06

I don't know about "polished" sermons...there must be some room for spontaneity and for the Holy Spirit to move. But I usually get little out of a sermon that shows scant preparation, no organization, no direction. And I've heard too many like that...the same scriptures week after week, from this book and that, given without context or background. I'd walk (or drive) miles to hear someone expound and explain scripture in a systematic way.
---Donna2277 on 8/10/06

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Phone counseling, on-line courses in Psychosynthesis and Ecopsychology ... I hold a Masters of Divinity from Starr King, the Unitarian-Universalist.
---kathr4453 on 8/10/06

notalaw99--I do wish all pastors could have an M.Div. from a nationally accredited seminary. But to say those who don't have no business behind a pulpit anywhere, would eliminate almost all small town churches. Why not have a licensing exam, as do other professions, of basic Bible knowledge including rules of hermeneutics. Perhaps seminaries could write, administer and grade the exams for a fee. Then churches or denominations might make licensure mandatory for prospective pastors.
---Donna2277 on 8/10/06

Act 4:13 Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and {began} to recognize them as having been with Jesus.
We do not need man to authorize teachers this is done through the Holy Spirit. According to your statement Peter & John would be "clown ministries".
---Ryan on 8/10/06

Have great programs for the kids, so the kids can enjoy and learn, and the parents (separately) can have a deep and meaningful experience. Too often, as a parent of young children, I get distracted from the service as I need to attend to my kids. And the service itself is geared more to adults. In the end, neither gets a full experience. Separating the two would really make it beneficial for both...and word would get out...!

teach love
---frank_cos on 8/10/06

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Prov.23[26] My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.
Isa.55[8] For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.[9] For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
---Stephenie on 8/10/06

NotLaw; It is good that many go to church where you speak of. but the question shouldn't be how many comes to church, the question should be Are they getting fed? It would be hard for a Pastor to Pastor a church that big. I don't see how they can do it. I would much rather go to a church where there is no routin than go to a church that does the same thing every service.
---Rebecca_D on 8/10/06

1 Cor. 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
[13] Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
[14] But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
---Stephenie on 8/10/06

1Cor.2:1-5 And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
---Stephenie on 8/10/06

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notlaw99: The apostles were, apart from Paul, unlearned men. Anyone can get a Masters of Divinity, right here off the Internet. With that in mind, are you going to ask him to prove he actually took Bible classes.
---Linda_L on 8/10/06

Notlaw "Any one who does not have minimal credentials of a Master of Divinity from a nationally accredited theological seminary has no business being in the pulpit as a pastor any where." That is probably why there are so few Christians in our churches these days. Did the disciples go to theological seminary?????
---emg on 8/10/06

emg, Professionalism in the clergy is what we stride for. Any one who does not have minimal credentials of a Master of Divinity from a nationally accredited theological seminary has no business being in the pulpit as a pastor any where. Churches that grow have professional well trained staffs it takes time to develop them. Their professionalism pay off in effective programs, church growth effective use of stewardship and mission funding assets. That the difference effective churches and clown ministries.
---notlaw99 on 8/10/06

I got TIRED of hearing one say,
Over and Over each Sunday,

"I once knew a man......"

Bedtime stories are for kids, before putting them to sleep....that's why we tell them bedtime stories.
---kathr4453 on 8/10/06

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I dislike the words professional and amateur when referring to preachers. I'm also unhappy with the expression 'polished sermon'. I agree that, in some churches, time is important. In mine the minister has to finish on time because he leaves to go and take a service elsewhere very soon after ours but people are not saved by listening to polished sermons. If the sermon is not from God (whether long, short, from an 'amateur' or a bible college trained minister) it will fall on deaf ears and be of no effect.
---emg on 8/10/06

So really it is a matter of perspective. Are you looking at church attendance of a worthless building or are you looking at the truly saved from all generations past, present and future that make up the true spiritual bride of Christ?
---Ryan on 8/10/06

Than you hear the best orator the congregation has to offer and they start talking about bogus concepts like "Sinners prayer" and "Altar calls" and "Accepting Jesus in your heart" and the next day they brag about how 300 people were saved. It's all bogus and rediculous and it denies the true spiritual church of Christ.
---Ryan on 8/10/06

Than they figure out some way to attract new crowds of people by providing some secular form of entertainment with a "Christian perspective" and than peolpe come and get emotional and the leadership has been trained to take advantage of the emotions that are evoked in these people.
---Ryan on 8/10/06

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Stef, who said church attendance is low. Jesus is sitting at the right hand of the Father right now watching the attendance grow from past present and future souls.
Now builldings made of stone where God does not exist are a different story. This is the corporate churh. They will complain of low attendance everytime their checkbooks get low in funds. They come out whining and complaining that no one wants to attend church anymore.
---Ryan on 8/10/06

Continued - I have seen churches where the services were clones of each other. Others where one service was Traditional and the others Charismatic. And I have seen services that were run in different languages in intercity multiethnic communities. But to make any of the work you have to plan, polish and schedule. And that is the difference in being a Pro and a rank armature. Some clergy just aren't disciplined enough to make the the big leagues; just knowing the Bible alone just doesn't cut it.
---notlaw99 on 8/9/06

Rebecca_D, church growth out paces facility space in dynamic churches. I know churches that run three morning services two of them with concurrent church school sessions with most of the services filled to 93% seating capacity. To manage that type of program requires scheduling; everyone participating in the service has to know what they are doing and a fixed amount of time to do it in. To make it work you have an order of worship and follow it. Your verity comes on what you include on different weeks.
---notlaw99 on 8/9/06

NotLaw; A pastor that can deliver a pre-written sermon within 17-22 minutes? Are you serious, a routine for a church? Every church service shouldn't be the same. Doing the same thing every church service will get boring. What happened to the part in letting God lead the singers to sing a song, or the Pastor to preach a message? Why does it have to be pre-written and within a time limit?
---Rebecca_D on 8/9/06

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I do some church stewardship consulting on the side. There are a number of factors that influence church growth besides location, parking and building capacity. The dominant needs are good leadership both pastoral and church boards. Dynamic programming. An effective music program and a a effective church school program with teachers who stick to the published curriculum. As well as a clergy who can deliver a polished pre-written 17-22 minute sermon. If you can do that your church will grow.
---notlaw99 on 8/8/06

Start preaching straight out of the bible instead of beating around the bush about things. Well...that would run them off, wouldn't it? People don't go to church because they don't want to, some aren't able to go, and some churchs show no love. It could be various reasons.
---Rebecca_D on 8/8/06

#2 Conviction means change and they are comfortable with the way things are at the present. Those who are seeking God's heart and will, will welcome conviction and will want to change anything that God says needs changing. Churches have low attendance because they don't want to hear and feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
---Debbie on 8/8/06

#2 Conviction means change and they are comfortable with the way things are at the present. Those who are seeking God's heart and will, will welcome conviction and will want to change anything that God says needs changing. Churches have low attendance because they don't want to hear and feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
---Debbie on 8/8/06

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#1 My husband and I pastor a little meeting in Oklahoma. We both preach and teach the whole counsel of God. It has been said by some of our congregtion that we preach just what the Lord gives and we don't care who toes we step on. We do care but it isn't our place to water down or less the impact of a message because it might step on someones toes. A message of Truth will convict and most Christians today do not want to be convicted.
---Debbie on 8/8/06

Donna you are absolutely correct. In this day of apostasy the Word isn't good enough anymore. Now we have rock music in church to draw a crowd or a magician or other nonsense.People do not want to hear the Word of God anymore. They want to be intertained.
---shira on 8/8/06

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